Author Topic: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!  (Read 7072 times)

Deke Dickerson

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Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« on: October 08, 2015, 05:49:17 PM »
Hello all--

I just joined this forum because it seems to be the only place where there is any knowledge about the rare 1950's Columbia/Bell & Howell Masterwork Consoles.

There has already been mention of a model 1072 Columbia console that belonged to Johnny Horton on this forum.  It turned up in a small town in Louisiana on a local craigslist for $250.

I'm a professional musician who plays the original rockabilly, classic country and 1950's rock and roll styles.  I'm a huge fan of Johnny Horton.  When I saw the ad, and realized that it had real provenance that connected the console to Johnny Horton's widow, Billie Jean Horton, I jumped on it, realizing that getting this beast home from central Louisiana to Southern California where I live would be a huge undertaking.  But owning Johnny Horton's record player seemed worth it!! 

When the ad came up, I asked several of my friends in Texas and Louisiana if they would be willing to go get the console and store it for me until I came back into the region.  During that time, I was talking to the seller, who ran a museum in the small town of Many, Louisiana that went out of business about ten years ago.  Billie Jean Horton had donated the stereo to the museum back in the 1990s, along with a notarized letter of authenticity.  While I was communicating with the seller, suddenly the ad disappeared and the seller quit returning my phone calls or emails.  I thought all hope was lost....

I put another post on facebook asking "Anybody know what happened?"  I got an email that revealed another friend of mine had bought the item knowing that I wanted it, and this friend did me the solid favor of going up to Many, Louisiana to get it and take it to a safe storage place in Baton Rouge.  With the unit secured and in a good storage place, I just had to wait until I was going to tour through the Baton Rouge area with my band.

Last week, I toured through Texas and Louisiana, and stopped in Baton Rouge to pick up the unit on the way home.  I know that some on this forum have mentioned how heavy these units are.  I was completely unprepared for how heavy it is--300 pounds!  We wrestled it in the van, covered it in blankets, and packed band equipment around it.

After a long trip back from Louisiana--four days on the road--Last night I got the unit back home to Los Angeles, and I am eagerly anticipating restoring this unit and using it.  Currently it is not working (hence the $250 price tag) but right now I'm unsure of exactly what isn't working.

My plan is to first bring up the entire unit slowly on a variac, and who knows--I might get lucky and the thing will fire up once the console is brought up slowly to 110V.  The second step is to check all the tubes and replace what tubes are bad.  After that, if the unit still doesn't work, I have a tech who can go over it and determine what's wrong.

The bells and whistles on this thing are staggering, and I hope that they all come back to life.  I'm sure it would be quite a task to find anybody who could repair the built-in oscilloscope if it doesn't work!

Here are some photos of me picking up the unit in Louisiana and packing it in the van.  More pictures to come!  I welcome any insight and advice from the knowledgeable members on this list!

Deke Dickerson
www.dekedickerson.com

Harbourmaster

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 06:26:43 PM »
Hurrah!!!  Congratulations on your new console!!


Having personally wrestled one of these down 9 stairs and into the back of van you are to be commended for getting it home in one piece without a hernia!


Interesting to note that the trim and legs on yours are chrome while all of the others I have seen are gold/brass.
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!

Pat L

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 07:22:24 PM »
Welcome to the group Deke. You have an awesome console with a fantastic history. I have a very similar unit myself. I'm a bit concerned that your plan for restoration is not comprehensive enough. These units are filled with wax coated paper capacitors, they simply must be replaced. Over the years they have dried out and will fail and ruin your unit. They can catch on fire, they can short out, and will take your irreplaceable transformers with them at a minimum.

This is not a difficult task for a tech or hobbyist. On mine some of the original power cord insulation had dried up and cracked as well. There are many other tasks to be performed such as cleaning and removing dried up grease and oil from the changer, RTR, and clock. Contacts and switches all need to be cleaned and serviced.

Your unit is worth the effort.
Pat

Deke Dickerson

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2015, 08:30:37 PM »
Thanks Pat!

Yes, I guess I was a little simplified in my explanation of the plans for restoration.  I fully anticipate there to be many caps and tubes that need to be replaced, but am curious to see if the old girl will at least work after variac'ing it up....then on to making it work CORRECTLY.  And yes, I've restored several Thorens and Garrard turntables, so I am acutely aware of what it takes to get those delicate creatures working again. 

I'm really grateful that other members have posted manuals and schematics for these things on this forum!  That will help immensely!

Deke

Tubeglow

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2015, 08:33:26 PM »
Very nice Deke!

Pat L

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 08:35:14 PM »
My apologies Deke, I didn't realize you had that experience. I'm looking forward to following your restoration effort. If you need any information, pictures, etc. please let me know. I can always refer to my unit or my parts collection.

Deke Dickerson

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2015, 10:02:27 PM »
Pat--

I'm sure I will call on you at some point!!  This thing is like Medusa coupled with Godzilla compared to any other console I've ever worked on....

Thanks!
Deke

Larry H

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2015, 10:04:56 PM »
Deke, so glad to hear you got this console.  I posted the original Craigslist ad on here quite a while back. 

Congratulations on getting Johnny Horton's console.  I'm hoping to get Elvis' set.    LOL

That was quite a load you had returning to California.
--Larry

danrclem

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2015, 11:04:35 PM »
Congrats on getting a fine piece with a history.   ;)

Consoleman

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2015, 07:19:15 AM »
That's a great story and I'm so glad the console ended up in your hands. Pat is right, start with a recap and then go from there.

How about a link to a YouTube video of your band?
Mark

Deke Dickerson

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2015, 11:07:57 AM »
Mark aka Consoleman--

OK, you requested it....here's a link to an appearance I made on the Marty Stuart TV show a couple years ago.

Watching it, you can probably guess why I'm so pleased I got Johnny Horton's console....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVNpUZ4T5Ns

Deke

Consoleman

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2015, 10:51:17 AM »
Fantastic!   ;D
Mark

Deke Dickerson

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2015, 08:11:25 PM »
Update on the Johnny Horton Columbia 1072 console....

Got it inside the house, cleaned it up and variac'd it up.

Everything came to life as far as the dials, lamps, and all the tubes.  Even the record changer came back to life with some gentle nudging.

The only drag is that there was no sound coming through the speakers from the turntable or radio (I'm not even going to mess with the reel to reel for a while, visually from the underside I can see the belts are rotten).

I could hear amp hiss coming from the speakers, though. Adjusting the main volume pot I could hear the amplified sound of a scratchy volume pot.

I finally got sound from my iPod plugged into the auxiliary input. It worked, but was quite saggy sounding. Will definitely need a rebuild of the power amp.

So, the components going through the exotic pre-amp/EQ unit isn't making it to the power amp. Probably a power supply problem....that's next.

Here are a few more photos for the group. I'm also going to try and upload a video of my iPod playing Johnny Horton's "Battle Of New Orleans" on its inaugural blast! It was spooky to hear his voice booming out of the speakers, knowing this unit used to belong to him....

Deke Dickerson

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2015, 08:13:00 PM »
i can't seem to upload photos from my phone, will upload via desktop later....

Pat L

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Re: Johnny Horton's Columbia 1072 Masterwork Console rescued!
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2015, 08:54:54 PM »
Sweet, can't wait for the pics. Maybe a little Honky Tonk Man as well ;D